Patrouille des Glaciers 2012, the winners and the shortened competition
Lorenzo Scandroglio recounts the 2012 edition of Patrouille des Glaciers, the legendary ski mountaineering competition from Zermatt to Verbier which due to dangerous conditions was stopped short at Arolla.
A "PDG split in half", just like the count in Calvino's Il visconte dimezzato, is the title which summarises the events of the classic Swiss ski mountaineering competition which took place last week. The real deal in the jungle of formulas, categories and race options, the top gun of world ski mountaineering which from Zermatt leads to Verbier via Arolla was stopped in the latter ski resort, half-way through the race, due to an avalanche which had swept onto the race course (around 04:30) immediately after Col de Riedmatten and shortly before the arrival of the competitors. Naturally the official version of the Swiss military talked about "interruption due to unstable snow conditions which rendered the race impossible" but those who were in the running new about what had happened well before the official version. The final results were based of the positions at Arolla, but it's clear that the podium of this PDG won't be remembered like all the rest, regardless of what the official press releases state.
It's clear that the mountains don't allow things to be programmed far in advance. At high altitude you often need to change and adapt on the spur of the moment, otherwise you need to give up ski mountaineering altogether and play some other form of indoor sport... But this time it was clear right from the outset that conditions weren't particularly suitable for a regular competition. But how would the organisation have dealt with all the reimbursements which would have come from all over the place, at 1200 Swiss francs per team.
The men's competition was won by the French - Spanish team "BomBlaJo" comprised of William Bon Mardion - Mathéo Jacquemoud - Kilian Jornet Burgada (2h:54':36") ahead of the Swiss team "Gardes-frontière / SAC Swiss Team" comprised of Florent Troillet - Martin Anthamatten - Yannick Ecoeur (2h:56':02") and the French team "Morzine - Châtel FFME" alias Alexis Sévennec - Valentin Favre - Yannick Buffet (3h.04':39").
The women's event was won by the international "Les Enfants du Sourire" team of the ace athletes Mireia Mirò - Laetitia Roux - Séverine Pont Combe (3h:31':35"), followed by the Swiss squad "SAC-CAS Swiss Team 1" comprised of Nathalie Etzensperger, Marie Troillet and Emilie Gex-Fabri (3h:53':36") and "Team Yosemite" of Chantal Daucourt - Simone Delamorclaz - Sabine Gentieu (4h:18':35"). The Swiss just missed gold therefore, after winning hands down in 2010 in both the men's and women's event.